Friday, May 18, 2007

Tories in Oxford: remember, you read it here first

So the story of the mass defections from Oxford's Independent Group to the Tories has broken. As attentive readers of this blog could have read about this back at the start of last month, this can hardly count as new news. Except for that fact that the predictions were for at least three Tory councillors -- but they've only mustered two.

Clearly, the silver-tongued smooching of the latest Camerooney failed to persuade those other councillors who were the objects of his attention. Amazingly, those other councillors decided that the idea of moving from a small group to an even smaller one lacked something in the enticement stakes.

It does leave the acrid scent of desperation hanging in the air. It's just a question of who is more desperate: Oxfordshire's Conservatives, who in the Witney Wonder's own backyard can't get anyone with a blue rosette near to winning an election in the county's capital. Or the formerly Independent-minded councillors, counting the days to the next election campaign and deciding that being in any party whatsoever is better than none.

It's a curious political journey for the individuals involved, one of whom has discussed joining at least two other parties before, while the other is a regular attendee at 'Save the NHS' marches. I suppose that will now be out and in will come support for charging for residents parking permits, anti-European rhetoric and backing for the Iraq war. We should wish them luck for their last few months on Oxford City Council.

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